Can we afford much more of David Burt’s leadership?
“With friends like these, who needs enemies”— Joey Adams
This expression is timely when we consider that one’s close associates can often prove to be more adversarial and damaging than one’s enemy or opponents. The quote above is very applicable to the relationship between the Progressive Labour Party leadership and its support base. It is especially appropriate when we consider the events unfolding at present between the labour movement and the PLP government.
I invite you to have another look at my April 27, 2021 opinion “Betrayal of the Bermudian worker”, where I pointed out the blatant conflicted interest between the unions and the Government, orchestrated by the PLP. It started with our Minister of Labour, Jason Hayward, assuming the dual role of PLP senator and president of the Bermuda Public Services Union.
The Bermuda Industrial Union joined this illicit relationship by cozying up to Mr Hayward and the PLP, presumably cutting a deal that led to the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidated) Act 2021. However, betrayal has no boundaries and only breeds distrust and more conflict. The thorny issue of decertification in the Act has thrown the door wide open to one of the greatest betrayals to occur between the PLP labour government and unionised workers. The BIU is likely to be the biggest loser once complete because a vast majority of its members are in the private sector in such places as Belco, hotels, etc.
The Act provides for the unions to collect 50 per cent of monies that were previously given to charities by non-union members. However, this potential windfall for the Union leadership is tied to these non-union members having a vote on whether to decertify the union from their place of employment. This would clearly have a significant impact on the BIU.
The obvious question has to be, with Bermuda in the middle of a pandemic and so many other important issues confronting us, what is the PLP’s agenda in causing this strife that will likely get worse for working-class Bermudians?
For instance, we have the recent announcement that the G7 nations plan to implement a global tax rate on corporations, which severely threatens Bermuda and our economic standing. Surely, there are many pressing issues other than betraying the BIU, which is believed to be the birthplace of the PLP.
Is this being advanced because of the poor economic realities now looking David Burt squarely in his eyes? Bermuda’s debt is rising, the coffers are drying up, funds are running low and the PLP has absolutely no clue as to how it will increase the country’s revenue. The laws of economics do not allow for continued borrowing without revenue coming in, regardless of the Premier’s fanciful speeches and political rhetoric.
My theory is that what we are witnessing with the passing of this Act is the first strike of a slick, fork-tongued snake to paralyse its prey before engulfing it. Mark these words: working-class Bermudians should brace themselves because drastic government measures are coming after the decapitation of the BIU. The PLP politicians are full steam ahead with betraying the working man.
Of course, Mr Burt and the PLP will blame Covid, but Bermuda’s economic problems existed long before March 2020. They were created by substantial deficit spending, significant borrowing, non-existent economic plans and the many failed policies of the PLP over the past two decades.
I will even venture to guess that the declining economic fortunes of Bermuda stand in absolute contrast to the increased economic fortunes of Mr Burt, his Cabinet ministers and his back benchers. We are clearly under the control of a self-serving clique with absolute disregard for the rest of us. They are behaving in the same manner and living the exact life that they have pretended to fight against.
This will continue to be a disaster for working-class Bermudians. The PLP is mortgaging the future of our children for its personal gain. The only government that can rescue Bermuda is one that understands that our prosperous economic future must be built on a prosperous economy with increased opportunity for everyone. It cannot be built on an economy that is rapidly declining and provides opportunities only for the Premier and his select few.
Sadly, the day is finally upon the PLP government and its support base. They are faced with a simple choice. Can Bermuda afford to continue to follow David Burt down the path of economic ruin or change from within to salvage what we can of our country before it is too late?
• Vic Ball was a One Bermuda Alliance senator from November 2014 to July 2017, and more recently a candidate in the General Election in Smith's West (Constituency 9)